This seminar asks about the historical role played by feminine figures—muses, maidens, mothers, lovers—in the construction of aesthetic epiphanies and metamorphoses. The notion of Woman as a conduit for inspiration has a long theological, philosophical and literary tradition, beginning with the early Christian topos of the Virgin Mary as an 'aquaduct of grace.' We will interrogate this topos in search of a different and deeper understanding of what it has meant, historically, to be transformed by a work of art. Authors to be explored include Dante, Rousseau, Goethe, Schopenhauer, Wagner, Bachmann, Lacan, Irigaray, Kristeva, Kittler, and Latour. Discussions and readings in English.